Self-reporting a positive COVID-19 test just got easier with new online form

By Diana Fedinec
August 3, 2020

To ensure the safety of students and employees and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the community, Southwest has launched a new  COVID-19 self-reporting form.  The College is asking all students, faculty and staff who test positive for COVID-19 to immediately self-report by completing the online form. The self-reporting form is a short questionnaire that can be filled out on a PC or mobile device, even a cell phone.  The form is accessible on the College’s COVID-19 homepage or via this link: http://www.southwest.tn.edu/self-reporting.htm.

The College also noted it will take appropriate steps to protect an individual’s privacy in accordance with applicable law, however, it cannot assure complete confidentiality of the form when the health and safety of students, employees and visitors depends upon appropriate sharing of information to parties such as public health officials. 

Typically, information gathered by the College will remain confidential as directed by the Shelby County Health Department.  The College will notify the Shelby County Health Department, but will NOT divulge the identity of the person(s) in question to the greater campus or Memphis communities.  The College also assesses the credibility of every self-report to determine whether to provide an update to the campus community.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) permits educational agencies and institutions to disclose, without prior written consent, Personal Identifiable Information (PPI) in connection with an emergency, if knowledge of that information is necessary to protect the health or safety of a student or other individuals. (20 U.S.C. § 1232g(b)(1)(I); 34 C.F.R. §§ 99.31(a)(10) and 99.36.)  This “health or safety emergency” exception to FERPA’s general consent requirement is limited in time to the period of the emergency.  Law enforcement officials, public health officials, trained medical personnel, and parents (including parents of an eligible student) are the types of appropriate parties to whom this information would be disclosed.

Although the self-reporting form is voluntary, we hope you will oblige this request to help promote the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty, staff, visitors and community-at-large. For specific regulations on HIPAA Privacy and sharing patient information, click https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/february-2020-hipaa-and-novel-coronavirus.pdf.

Thank you for your cooperation in helping to keep our Southwest community safe.

Please review the College’s infectious disease policy and stay tuned for updates via email and on the College’s coronavirus website at www.southwest.tn.edu/coronavirus.

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